I thought I would try something different today and write an open letter to the girls that have had their heart broken by someone who has cheated on them. We all make promises, of course. We all tell people we love them, we care for them, we could never live without them, but much of the time it turns out to be nothing more than empty, wishful thinking. I don’t doubt the words per se, but I do think in time actions speak louder than words. They say you often hurt the people you care for the most and to an extent I think that is true.

There are hundreds of ways to get your heart broken; however, none are worse than getting cheated on. Cheating is something I never condoned nor, to be honest, understood.

Cheating is incredibly selfish. It diminishes you, destroys your self worth, and makes it hard for you to trust again. There’s many reasons why people cheat, narcissism, risk-taking, thinking they won’t get caught, loneliness, or unhappiness. But there’s no reason someone else should have to suffer at the hands of your decision.

I’ve shared my experiences. I probably won’t go into too much detail in this post because i’ve talked about it in the past and I don’t see a point in detailing everything again.

So let me tell you I when I say I know what it feels like. That pit that develops in your stomach, the anxiety you feel in your head wondering what they are doing, the heart palpitations from overthinking, or even feeling your self-worth drop. But then there’s still that part of you that is hopeful. That they really love you and that it was an honest mistake and it won’t happen again. I don’t doubt love necessarily but I don’t believe you accidentally download things like Tinder, accidentally start talking to other girls, and then accidentally find yourself at a coffee shop meeting with them while you’re still telling someone else you love them.

You also don’t accidentally lie to your partner when you got caught. Eventually the story runs its course when they can’t think of anything believable and instead crumble in your hands like putty.  When I was cheated on, I didn’t find out from friends. I heard it directly from the person doing it himself the very first time. The second time I came across it. The third time he told me he had been on it when I was away again. The fourth time, I caught him. The fifth time, I caught him again. And you know what? It was still hard for me to believe even though the proof was right in front of my face each and every time. There was no remorse though, there were apologies and him begging me to forgive him and not to be angry with him and trying to kiss up to make things better. Then there was the part where he just didn’t care anymore. As if I supposedly meant nothing and that it didn’t count as “cheating” because “he didn’t do anything”. Yet, if the tables had been turned it would have been cheating in his eyes. The hypocrisy.

I love (understatement) the show Friends and it always stuck by me when Rachel brought up the words her mom said when Ross cheated on her during their “break”: “Once a cheater, always a cheater”, but the reality is most cheaters are chronic cheaters – this is why this saying exists. While it may be too broad to be true all cases, the fact is many of those who cheat do so because they believe it’s OK to do so even though they know deep down it’s wrong. They know this because they sure go the effort to keep it from you in the first place. So they do it regularly. Chronic cheaters will never be the ones to own up to what they did, so hearing it from others or stumbling upon it yourself can be difficult to say the least. You’re likely to not even believe what is in front of your eyes, trying to rationalize with yourself, thinking that people who bring you this information or tell you what’s going on must – for whatever reason – be trying to sabotage your relationship. I thought this was true when my friends found out and were giving me warnings, I didn’t want to believe them because I was blinded by my love for this person.

Cheating doesn’t have to just be physical, it can be emotional too. Going behind someone’s back is not conducive to a healthy relationship. As soon as your thoughts wander from your partner to someone else and your giving them your time, that’s emotional cheating. Don’t give me any of that “I was stressed” or “I have needs” crap; we all have needs. The person you’re with has needs – they need you to be loyal.

I forgave because I thought they meant it when they said they wanted to change, they were so sorry they hurt me, that it was a mistake, and they couldn’t believe they would give up something they were happy with to take a shot in the dark. I blamed myself for their actions, that I was being to hard on them, expecting too much, and my decisions negatively impacted them. That I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t pretty enough, that I wasn’t truthful enough because I made a mistake that they felt betrayed their trust, or even I wasn’t loving enough. But yet the reality was, I never cheated on them. I never sought the attention of another male. I was focused on them, throwing money and time into things to make it work. Yet, I was the one punishing myself for them having cheated on me.

I told myself I would do everything to make it work and look to fix myself and that they had nothing to be sorry for because I understood why they did it. I was ashamed of myself for doing this to us and for bringing embarrassment since I felt it was all my fault. But as soon as I would go away again the habits would return, not right away but in time. Things got hard and there was nothing I could do about it. But really what I learned was someone cheating on you doesn’t make you look silly. It highlights that they have issues they need to work on.

So listen when I say pay attention to the red flags. Pay attention to your gut. Pay attention to how they treat other people, how they treated their previous partners, and even moreso how they speak about them now. I think it’s quite telling of what you can expect for yourself. After all, when you badmouth someone, whether it be a friend or even an ex, it’s really a reflection of them. They might think they are conveying: “I want people to know what my ex is like, what I’ve been through, that I deserve compassion.” But what they actually convey to others is: “So and so hurt me and I’m STILL pissed off about it, and I’m going to badmouth YOU if you hurt me too.” Think about it, they were with that person for a reason to begin with, if they were so unhappy or really felt that way about the other person they wouldn’t have put in the effort with them in the first place. Why waste their time when they could have found someone else?

I witnessed it first had. It’s funny because looking back when we got back together, the first words they used to describe the other person were “bossy”, “entitled,” and “bitch”, and me being gullible and wanting to believe them felt it was the truth, because after all this girl had still pursued him even after she found out about me. She’s actually a super nice person and after hearing her side of things, I now have a better understanding of everything that happened. To get the side of the story from someone who had nothing to lose when it came down to it and to see where things line up or don’t. I’m grateful we had the opportunity to talk about things and clear the air.

Sometimes I feel disappointed in myself for giving people so many chances to change. For believing in their words when their actions really don’t back up what they are saying. If you feel like something is wrong, chances are something is. I’ve learned is that your intuition is rarely wrong. If there’s three things that will benefit me going into nursing, it would have to be my ability to notice things, my ability to not judge people, and my intuition of knowing when something is up. I can guarantee you that if you are feeling or worried about something, there’s probably a reason for it.

We need to stop giving people so many chances to hurt us. I was naive looking back, always on the defence in protecting them from others, when I failed to examine what they were doing was incredibly selfish and in the end I was the person who was getting hurt and not worthy of their respect for my feelings. I was the one who suffered because of their actions. Nobody makes you cheat, it’s a conscious choice to do it.

I now know cheating isn’t a reflection of me, it’s a reflection of the other person. I’ve now come to see that when someone mistreats or cheats on you it has almost always had nothing to do with you. Other people’s behaviour is about them. I’ve realized that at the end of the day flirting with other women has to do with their insecurities, and nothing to do with me not being good enough. It’s their ego that needed a boost, and they use other women for that because they aren’t emotionally or intellectually developed enough to boost it themselves. Cheating and lying are done out of fear. I firmly believe we must be responsible enough to look after our own feelings and not make someone else responsible for how we feel. They are trapped in a cycle of thinking they need someone to make them feel happy. That they needed to use other women to boost their self-esteem.

So stand up for yourself. Empower yourself and don’t settle for less. You are worth so much more than someone who thinks you aren’t worth having the truth told to them. If they do it once, chance are they will do it again. Honesty isn’t supposed to be something you should be questioning in a relationship. So stop wasting your time with someone you can’t change and find someone who aligns with your values. Don’t give your heart to someone who won’t give you all that they have back. You have nothing to prove to anyone. We are all worthy of love. Don’t settle for friends with benefits, don’t settle for night time booty calls, don’t settle for someone who would put you down, and don’t settle for something where you are being controlled by someone else’s emotions. It’s my job to put my best interests at heart and love myself enough to walk away from anything that doesn’t build me up. Make it yours too. Save yourself the heartbreak.

At the end of the day, I know deep down it’s not my loss, it’s theirs, and eventually the people who cheat on you will always look back and regret what they lost. They always do.

Your worth is not dependant on anybody else <3